Day 217: He Who Fights

 The facts

Lucinda drew her lollipop out of her mouth and handed the stick to him. “You can finish it if you like,” she said.
”Thanks awfully,” said William gratefully. He put the stick into his mouth, detached what was left of the lollipop, crunched it up, and swallowed it.
“You ought to have made it last longer that,” said Lucinda reproachfully.
“I don’t like making things last,” said William.

  • Number: 20.1
  • Published: 1938 (1937 in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Dictator
  • Synopsis: William makes a new friend – who he has to fight.


In one of his classic to-impress-a-girl moves, William agrees to fight a red-haired boy who has just come to the village, and who has dared to spurn the affections of Lucinda, of whom William is rather fond.

But, imagine William’s shock and horror, when he goes to beat up the red-haired boy, that he is actually rather nice. Ralph owns rabbits. Ralph likes roaming the countryside. Ralph is a perfect friend for William, so William is racked with guilt at the thought of having to assault him.

“Would you like to come round an’ see the back
garden?” said Lucinda.
‘”Thanks,” said William, and followed her round to
the back of the house.
Here was a paradise of packing-cases, old tin cans,
flotsam and jetsam of builder’s materials, and the bare trodden earth that was William’s ideal of a “garden”.
“Gosh!” he ejaculated. “I wish ours was like this.”

‘Fortunately’, William and Ralph so enrage the holidaymakers at a local summer camp that Ralph is soundly beaten by them. William tells Lucinda that he is responsible for the injuries, and that he did indeed carry out her quest of bravely fighting Ralph.

It doesn’t quite go his way though.